published Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Chattanooga to spend $32,500 for blue rhinoceros on wheels


by Naomi Jagoda
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Do you think Chattanooga should spend $32,500 on the statue?

The Chattanooga City Council agreed to buy a big blue rhinoceros on wheels Tuesday night.

The statue, "Blue Boy Pull Toy #1," has been on display for two years in Coolidge Park. The city plans to purchase it from local artist John Petrey for $32,500.

Some council members in the agenda session questioned the decision to buy the piece of public art.

Councilwoman Deborah Scott said the council should consider priorities in a recession.

"Some people in my district don't make that much a year. Actually, a lot of people," she said. "$32,000 is significant."

Local sculptor Isaac Duncan, a member of the public art committee, said the body has been mindful of the economic downturn and has refrained from making purchases in recent years. However, he said, buying this piece would be an investment in local business and an asset to the city.

"We are small businesses that do custom works," Duncan said of local artists. "Every time I get paid, I'm reinvesting it."

Scott, Jack Benson and Pam Ladd voted against the measure. Council members Manny Rico, Andraé McGary, Peter Murphy, Russell Gilbert and Carol Berz voted in favor of it.

In other business, the council voted to send texting while driving citations to City Court. The ordinance passed unanimously on second reading.

The council also is slated to vote next week on a proposed special exception to the city's light industrial zoning that would allow for ethanol facilities. Members briefly discussed the matter in agenda session, and County Commissioner Tim Boyd appeared before the full body to oppose the measure.

Staff writer Ansley Haman contributed reporting to this article.

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sage1 said...

"It is interesting that all the "must have" art spending includes buying pieces from the children of Allied Arts board members, and in the case of the blue Rino, the artist's wife is the leader of the Holmberg institute, a part of Allied Art."

Hmmmm....maybe we've found one of the sources of the Stench a'la Sewer found in the downtown section of Chattanooga

October 5, 2011 at 11:25 a.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Waiting on the snooty rich people on Lookout Mountain to tell us we are backwards thinking for not supporting this public art taxpayer funded expenditure. Check that. We already have one over on Chattanoogan.com giving us a lecture. But hey. He's been to Paris, Rome, Vienna, and New York City you know. Geez freaking louise.

October 5, 2011 at 3:42 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

I think he's a good artist, and I'm glad Chattanooga is buying this piece. It represents observable equity. It's a far better investment that many of the other choices we've seen:

$328,000 for a website that still isn't up.

$125,000 and five county deputies fired to install Bob Corker's right hand man as county Chief of Staff.

Police take home car fiasco perpetrated by the Mayor.

Lack of accounting support for Parks and Rec, Outdoor Chattanooga, the Zoo and other departments that don't get Mayor Littlefield's cronies paid.

Deplorable neglect of the condition of the Wilcox tunnel.

$10 million dollar fictionalizing of the definition of "liabilities" in the City budget.

$10 million dollar shortfall by refusing to renew the City/County tax agreement. Losses to the Library, psychiatric services for the poor, housing assistance for the mentally ill, and drug treatment programs have cost us all.

Untold losses related to the Metro Payoff Club deals which exploit the division of city and county governments while excessive and selfish conduct of one clique seeks to exploit our area's tax dollars for personal political gain.

That clique's activities include the direct and unethical coordination of two government bodies to create a cabal that suppresses the citizens it is supposed to serve. We see the poor quality of their decisions in periodic political attacks in line with Republican national interests in ways that will likely provide money to stealthpacs for use during the upcoming Presidential elections.

Buying art is the only thing our local officials have gotten right in the last four years.

At least Mister Petri's Blue Rhino is observably true. He's far ahead of the abstract graft the Littlefield administration has brought us. Mister Petri's sculpture represents Owner's Equity.

Every person in this city making over $100,000 should probably get a class on those words: Owner's Equity. Look it up. It's what our citizens want for their money.

Our citizens like his sculpture, and we'd be honored to have it around for children to enjoy.

Good job, Petri. Congratulations.

October 5, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.
Turbodog said...

I like it and think it's great for the city.

October 5, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.
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